For every reason, this is a date for the diary. Leading Scottish artist, John Lowrie Morrison – JoLoMo – is being honoured with a major retrospective exhibition of his work – A Passion for Colour – at the Clydebank Town Hall, restored as a museum and gallery.
The exhibition will open on 14th June 2013 and run until September.
This one event lassoos together a lifetime’s artwork by this internationally renowned Argyll artist, a signature civic building in an area steeped in the history of Clyde shipbuilding, launched in its new guise only a week ago on 24th May 2013 – and the connection between the artist and the place.
Once upon a time John had worked in Clydebank as an Art Adviser for Strathclyde Regional Council, with his fondness for the area and for this building part of the glue in the works of bringing the elements of this event together.
Clydebank Town Hall and Public Library were built in 1902 and are now Category B listed buildings, designed by John Miller, as a status symbol to underline Clydebank’s elevation to being a ‘police burgh’. This was granted after petition in 1886, recognising Clydebank as ‘a populous place’.
Initially a Glasgow man, born in Maryhill, a graduate of the famous Glasgow School of Art and now wedded to Argyll, John Lowrie Morrison possesses, filed and now catalogued by his son, something around 6,000 items of artwork of his, created since he was four years of age.
It’s not hard to imagine just what has been involved in his work to select 100 of these for the exhibition – and that figure includes works sold to public and private collections.
A retrospective that can trace all of the stages of the development of a man’s life in art is a very unusual thing indeed.
Headlined by his more recent work as a leading Scottish colourist, driven by the endless variety of landscapes and seascapes in his native country – and others – the exhibition will display work in a variety of media.
John says: ‘The 100 works I have selected will show how my painting has developed over the years and will include works that have never been seen before and genres for which I am not generally known. I am really looking forward to seeing all this work together.’
To see one’s own creative life, compressed into 100 examples and displayed together is an experience given to few and is bound to carry a powerfully emotional impact for the artist. In a way, the retrospective and what it has taken to review his personal collection and his public output to enable it happen, will have brought him home to himself.
This entire experience promises to be fun, to be full of life and interest and to see a proud building adopt a new and living role in an area rightly proud of its history, its workmanship and its survival of serious and focused bombing in the second World War.